The power of incremental learning

Can you do a backflip?

Have you ever tried?

Too risky? Might get hurt? Not gonna try? Yeah I get it.

It took me ages to find the courage to try, and then a good amount of pain to land it. I didn’t have a trampoline, or lots of powder days with soft snow, or buddies that already know how to do it, or the internet to teach me.

I wish I had had a coach like this one back in the day, or free access to coaches like him sharing their wisdom and techniques. Add in training facilities that offer a relatively safe space to practise, and parents that actively encourage you to go for it (arguably easier when it’s safe and supervised – I get it, Mum. Love you!), and I marvel at the possibilities of what my level of snowboarding might have grown into.

But breaking complex and risky movements down into manageable chunks goes far beyond sports. Think about something you’re scared to do…

Now try to break this down into a sequence of events. Perhaps you can identify a number of different skills involved, or people you’d need to talk to, or tasks that need to be done.

This isn’t very existential, but something that I utilise when a coaching client really wants to master something but it feels too big or too scary to tackle. Yes, we can explore the fear and perhaps remove or manage it. But often the fear is not a limiting belief, but very real indeed, and important too. I found that going a systematic behavioural route can be the most straight-forward way towards a solution. And the limiting belief might just be that whatever it is you’re thinking about cannot be broken down into manageable chunks.

So what’s your backflip?


New content: Talking about Coaching & Psychedelics #14


Kile is the author of the excellent book “Beyond the narrow life: A guide to psychedelic integration and existential exploration”. You can imagine how excited I was to talk to him about coaching. Albeit a clinical psychologist, in my experience the lines between coaching and therapy can become quite blurry when we work with existential questions, and especially when psychedelic experiences are being discussed. I loved this conversation, and I reckon you will at the very least find it very interesting.

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